I found an amazing deal on the Allegiant Air website Thursday, August 23rd, 2012. It was so good that I refreshed the page thinking there was an error. It kept coming back to the same thing. Air & 5 nights hotel was $169.60. So I booked it. How could I not? It was the desired dates I wanted and Garth Brooks would be performing on the last night I was in town...
Three hours after booking, I called Allegiant Air and spoke with a rep. because I still couldn't wrap my head around what a good deal it was. I have the confirmation email. Airfare and hotel reservation? Both confirmed. I asked the rep. to look at make sure I wouldn't have any surprises. She said it was all good to go - no problems. I had gotten myself a great deal.
So the following day, I start making other arrangements. I bought tickets to Garth Brooks, I arranged for a day trip that would include a stop at the Hoover Dam for pictures on the way to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon where I would enjoy a trip out on the Skywalk.
Everything was great. It was amazing. I was floating on air. Monday, August 27th, four days later, I woke up with a sinking feeling. Instinct I guess. I figured since I had already confirmed that it was a really great deal with an Allegiant rep, that maybe the bad feeling was because I had incorrectly entered my birth date. As any traveler knows, all your personal information has to match up with picture ID or you're screwed. So I called to make sure I had submitted the correct info. The information was correct. No mistakes made. At least, not by me.
I was speaking with a Customer Service agent named Maggie. What a *** she turned out to be. She put me on hold and five or ten minutes later, after making me endure that Gawd Awful Elevator Music, she returned to inform me that they had known since Thursday night (the night I booked) that there was an error. My hotel did not book (then why the *** did my confirmation email say "confirmation: confirmed" under the hotel section of my reservation?). She wanted me to give her my phone number so she could call me back with the additional information about cost of hotels. Well, first of all - you have my phone number to call me back as it is listed in my account which she was already in because she was looking at the reservation. Secondly, you don't have to call me back after researching hotels because that's just a waste of time. I think someone wanted an excuse to slow it on down ... maybe the end of her shift was near and she saw an opportunity to be lazy? And third, the biggest of them all? My hotel is confirmed as stated in my email. I am not paying any more as the company advertised air/hotel package as a certain price. And I paid it. It's confirmed. She told me that there was no point in arguing the facts. Well, yeah - actually there is. When you have paid what they advertised as their package price, and suddenly they expect another payment for something that is already booked? *** straight a sane person is going to argue it. I'm not going to just roll over. No way, no how. So when I asked to speak with a manger, Maggie hung up on me. Oh how fantastic.
I was hanging on by a thread up until she hung up. Then a torrent of tears washed over me as I started to panick. I couldn't afford to spend more money on a hotel because I'd already spent money on shows and tours that were non-refundable.
I called back and the *** recording that says "we are experiencing a higher than average call volume. Sorry we can't take your call." Well, that just made it even worse.
By the time I got thru to another rep (Kevin), I was a basketcase. Maggie never should've hung up on me because poor Kevin was walking on eggshells. I asked for a manager or supervisor and Kevin informed me there was no manager or supervisor on the floor. What?? How the *** is that even possible? I have never known a call center to not have a manager or supervisor on the floor able to take a call.
He then tells me the same thing Maggie said...there's nothing that can be done either than refunding the money I'd spent on a package that was actually only airfare, or my shelling out another $300 on hotel (Maggie, Kevin didn't need to call me back when I asked how much extra the hotel would cost). I asked what the *** I was supposed to do about the non-refundable tickets? Well, of course, those aren't Allegiant's problems because I didn't book them thru Allegiant. He admitted that the error was a "glitch" on their end. When I pointed out a glitch isn't my problem and I shouldn't be expected to pay more because of their mistake, he told me it wasn't their problem either.
I wanted to submit a complaint and have someone get in touch with me, and all Kevin could do was refer me to Customer Relations email.
I made so many phone calls - I called Visa to see if they could hold Allegiant responsible for the non-refundable ticket purchases that I'd made. They told me that I could dispute it, but there are no guarantees. Then I called the hotel that came with the package - the one that was confirmed - and the best they could do for me was $417 for the 5 nights hotel before taxes. Or $217 at one of their sister properties that was even further off strip.
I made phone calls to the tour company and thankfully, they were sympathetic and cancelled my reservation and refunded my money. Ticketmaster, whom I'd purchased my Garth Brooks tickets too, said no. I called The Wynn hotel and the manager there was a doll. Very sweet and sympathetic. She said she'd refund the ticket but I had to call Ticketmaster and get a supervisor to contact her. I'm still waiting for confirmation that it is infact cancelled and I won't be charged for that, but so far, I'm optimistic.
Once that was taken care of, I called Allegiant Air and cancelled the "package" that was really just airfare. They couldn't even offer me a package deal price that was listed the day I made this package purchase. I was stuck paying their higher rates. And most packages had gone up at least $50.
But I lost an entire day trying to get Allegiant Air to stand good for the advertised package price, but wouldn't. Then hours on the phone with the tour company, ticketmaster, wynn and back to ticketmaster - all because of a computer glitch and all the company can say is "sorry"??? Sorry doesn't begin to cut it.
Then today, August 28th, I opted to call Allegiant HQ's (Phone: 702-851-7300). I explained to the admin person that talking to the Customer Service reps (1-702-505-8888) was useless as they weren't helpful at all and I needed someone who could actually help me. She transferred me. TO THE CUSTOMER SERVICE LINE! Well, that was like a lead balloon. Especially since it also boasted about longer than normal call volumes, not being able to help me, and once again, booting me out. So I called HQ again and she put me thru to Customer Relations.
I had to a leave a message. If you can believe it, they suggest emailing them. Or leave them a message, but they will only return your call if the itinerary you are calling about has already occurred. If you are calling about an upcoming trip, they will *not* call you back. Great service, huh?
I left a message anyway telling them that I was "highly unimpressed" and we'd get into it more when they called me back ASAP. 6 hours later, I was still waiting for a call and call HQ again and asked to speak with Andrew Levy, who is the president of Allegiant Air, or Maurice Gallager who is the CEO of the company. Well, that got the admins attention. She put me thru to their secretary since "they don't take calls." The secretary listened to what had happened and had a manager who could actually "help" call me back. About 20 minutes later, she did. her name was Kimberly.
I feel sorry for Kim because she was the person who had to give me the news that they really weren't going to honor the deal they had advertised and sold me. They just couldn't. When I mentioned the bad customer service that Maggie had given me, the email that was confirmed for air and hotel - all she could say was sorry. I mentioned the promotional flights that Allegiant has every now and again for $9 each way...why couldn't the company just say "hey, the glitch is our fault and we're going to make this right for our valued customer." Still nothing.
What she did offer was a suggestion on how to get to Vegas via Allegiant "cheap." I could go during the week, or for a shorter time so my money goes further. Well, Kim and everyone else at Allegiant, that's a swell suggestion. Except, I'd like to do a day trip to the Grand Canyon. There goes one day. I'd like to visit the Titanic Exhibit, the CSI Experience, swim with the Dolphins at the Mirage if I can find a coupon to afford it, spend some time at Circus, Circus, maybe do the Mob Experience at the Tropicana, or the Flight Simulator, do the Sky Dive thing The Stratosphere, spend some time on Freemont Street, watch the Bellagio fountains at night, go shopping at a few of the malls, do some gambling, spend some time by the pool - and oh yeah - SEE GARTH BROOKS which is a life long dream. And Garth is only in town on the weekends. So only spending time in Vegas during the week would mean that'd be a show I'd never get to see.
I understand that all the things I'd like to see and do in Vegas I wouldn't be able to do in one trip. But if I only went to Vegas for two or three days at a time to make it cheaper, I'd have to go back repeatedly which means it'd actually be more expensive. Might as well stay a few extra days and not have to pay for an additional R/T flight back in six months or a year, right?
So needless to say, I'll never fly via Allegiant Air again. Nor will I book trips for my sister, or my parents, or friends who ask me for help. I'll spend more money to vacation using other companies who actually value me as a customer and don't *** me around.
One Customer Service horror story travels a helluva lot further (and faster) than the good ones. And you can bet that I'll be telling anyone who'll listen this one for a long time to come.